FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW RESOURCE INTRODUCED TO SUPPORT
INCLUSIVE EDUCATION OF INDIVIDUALS WITH DOWN SYNDROME
New York, NY (January 26, 2022) – The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and Down Syndrome Education International (DSEI) are pleased to announce the availability of a new resource to support inclusive education for young people with Down syndrome. Down Syndrome: Guidelines for Inclusive Education aims to equip educators, administrators, therapists, and other support personnel with tools to improve education outcomes for young people with Down syndrome alongside their peers both with and without disabilities – and to help self-advocates, families, and policymakers promote inclusion throughout the entire domestic educational system. The guidelines are available for free on the NDSS website.
This publication is the result of a years-long effort by a volunteer working group assembled and supported by NDSS and DSEI staff members. The group utilized recommendations developed by an expert working group of a United Kingdom All Party Parliamentary Group on Down Syndrome (APPGDS) and customized those recommendations to the U.S. context. Volunteer contributors include Professor Sue Buckley, Emily Mondschein, Alexandra DiLaura and Justin Gilbert.
“It’s been settled for decades that students with Down syndrome and other disabilities belong in classrooms alongside their nondisabled peers. Federal law requires that inclusion be the rule, not the exception. Yet families across the country still struggle to access a quality, inclusive education,” said NDSS President & CEO Kandi Pickard. “As the mother of a school-age child with Down syndrome, I know these guidelines will be a vital tool for parents, educators, and administrators. I am thrilled that NDSS is helping make this publication available to support our community and expand inclusion in classrooms across the U.S.”
The publication is divided into three sections: first, a set of recommendations to federal lawmakers highlighting opportunities to increase and improve inclusive educational supports for young people with Down syndrome; second, a research-based profile of strengths and challenges associated with Down syndrome and recommended interventions and supports; third, principles and practices educators can employ to support individuals with Down syndrome across settings and age groups.
“Research has shown us that having Down syndrome leads to a specific learning profile which affects the children’s progress. This knowledge has been powerful in enabling us to tailor interventions that build on their strengths and address their challenges,” says Sue Buckley, Director for Science and Research at DSEI. “We have evidence that if we both adapt teaching to this profile and teach children and young people in inclusive settings, they gain in language, reading, math, and social outcomes. I have seen how education inclusion transforms lives in my work in schools in the U.K. and in the U.S. I hope the practical, evidence-based guidance in this document will lead to inclusion in schools for all our children.”
In the months ahead, NDSS and DSEI will provide various support documents and presentations to help the community make the best use of this resource. We consider the guidelines a living document that will continue to improve over time, so we encourage individuals and organizations in the community to connect with us and provide feedback for future iterations. The guidelines can be downloaded free of charge at https://www.ndss.org/inclusive-education-guidelines/.
The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations, and become valued members of welcoming communities. Founded in 1979, NDSS supports and advocates for the Down syndrome community by focusing on three key areas of programming: Resources & Support, Policy & Advocacy and Community Engagement. Within these focus areas NDSS engages in various activities, events and programs on topics that are critical to our community such as federal and state advocacy and public policy, health and wellness, education, and employment. NDSS creates resources to support individuals with Down syndrome, their families and caregivers across the lifespan and hosts community events throughout the country including the National Buddy Walk® Program, the Times Square Video presentation and New York City Buddy Walk®, Racing for 3.21 for World Down Syndrome Day, Run for 3.21, DC Golf Outing, the annual NDSS Gala & Auction, and various other events. Visit www.ndss.org for more information about NDSS.
Down Syndrome Education International is a leading international research and support organization dedicated to raising levels of educational achievement among children with Down syndrome. Over the past 40 years, the charity has supported research into the children’s specific learning needs and more effective teaching approaches and worked to disseminate evidence-based guidance and practical advice to families and professionals worldwide. By advancing evidence-based practice, Down Syndrome Education International leverages substantial public and nonprofit sector investments in early intervention and education services. Each year, the charity helps over 120,000 families, teachers, therapists, schools, non-profit and government service providers in more than 170 countries to provide more effective support to young people with Down syndrome.